Blu-Ray Slight Return: Sensurround Edition
They sure knew how to make films in the 1970s. For the 1977 release Rollercoaster utilized the then-new process known as Sensurround. The effect was developed by Universal and Cerwin-Vega and utilized low-frequency rumblings that you felt in the pit of your stomach. In other words a typical modern home entertainment system with a sound bar and subwoofer. The theatrical use of Sensurround was superseded by multiplexes increasing the screen count and designing more sophisticated sound systems.
Rollercoaster (Shout! Factory, 6/21) accomplishes its disaster movie mission, all sans CGI. A lone wolf terrorist (Timothy Bottoms) creates mayhem at various theme parks. The opening crash of a rollercoaster going off its rails and hurling to the ground and spectators beneath seems realistic due to its split second editing.
George Segal, a ride inspector, is brought on the case to investigate the disaster. Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda co-star and recall their previous teaming on the police thriller, Madigan. Craig Wasson, Steve Guttenberg and Helen Hunt are also featured in early career roles.
Above average thriller elements keep this potboiler moving at breakneck speed. The band Sparks can be seen playing for the amusement park crowd during one crucial sequence where technicians are trying to defuse a bomb on the tracks.
Also on Blu-ray
- Under the Sun of Satan (Cohen Media Group, 6/14) is part of the Maurice Pialat Collection and packs an incredible existential twist. This award winning film from 1987 is talky and bizarre at the same time. We follow a country priest (Gerald Depardieu) who when not practicing mortification finds himself in debate with Satan. Sandrine Bonnaire plays a waif who has murdered her lover, gotten away with it, and yet feels suicidal remorse when she crosses paths with the priest. The two-disc set contains over ninety-minutes of deleted scenes and interviews.
- Bodyguards and Assassins (Shout! Factory, 6/14) offers a lavish depiction of early Twentieth Century political events in Hong Kong. As the title suggest there are brilliantly choreographed action sequences involving everything from rifles, crossbows and martial arts. Donnie Yen stars.
- Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle: Complete Season One has all 16 episodes of the 1976 CBS cartoon series. Mostly kid stuff, however the plots take cues from the Edgar Rice Burroughs cosmology and the animation is old school hand-drawn.
- Black Sheep Squadron has all 13 episodes from the second and final season of this World War II adventure that chronicles the dare devil pilots of the Marine Attack Squadron 214. The show, originally called Baa Baa Black Sheep, stars Robert Conrad and the theme music with its military snare drum cadence recalls the theme to Conrad’s previous hit show The Wild Wild West. Every episode incorporates actual air battle footage shot in the Pacific during that era.
- Daniel Boone: Season One holds up with clever writing and backwoods wisdom over half a century after its debut. All 29 episodes from the 1964 – 1965 season of this Colonial era Revolutionary War actioner are offered, plus lots of extras. Fess Parker stars with support from Ed Ames as Mingo, an American Indian educated at Oxford. Leave it to Mingo to deliver sage lines. One discussion about tracking animals has Mingo saying, “Red man kills to live, white man lives to kill.” Great supporting guest stars including a young Kurt Russell, whose mother is accused of being a witch in an episode titled “The First Stone.” Historical figures depicted include George Washington and Ben Franklin.